While the holidays bring a flurry of parties, it’s hard to beat the Tuesday Literary Club’s annual Christmas bash for sheer fun (and good food).
The party took place Dec. 10 at the home of Kathy Tonnessen, and the more than 20 women who attended were in high spirits.
Every woman brings an ornament (or two or three) to be auctioned to her fellow members and the club’s guests. The variety of ornaments was staggering and included items that had been treasured for years, belonged to a loved one or was purchased just that evening.
Elvira England brought two of her amazing eggs decorated using the pysanky process, which is similar to batiking. Each color in the design on the egg requires using wax to block it from the areas that are not meant to be that color. To put it mildly, the very intricate designs take hours and hours. One egg featured penguins complete with mufflers and hats.
Each woman told the story of her ornament and auctioned it off, with England often playing the Vanna White role of displaying it around the room.
Two ornaments may have the most exotic futures.
K Redford donated a pottery bell that her late mother bought from a Navajo artisan a couple of decades ago. Joan Rhoades sent it to Aitor Barrantes, the exchange student from the Basque country of Spain – near Durango, no less – who lived with her and her husband, Bill, and son, John.
Bee Atwood, donated two sets of two red, green-and-white candle holders from Gump’s San Francisco. Rhoades bought one set for her former exchange daughter, Lea Kallenbach, who hails from Germany.
Kallenbach lived with the right family, because she loves flying and airplanes, and Rhoades is a senior pilot for United Airlines. Kallenbach went on to study aerospace engineering and is now finishing an internship with Airbus.
By the time the confetti settled, the club had raised more than $775. Tuesday Lit could show Congress a thing or two. It has its own Ways and Means Committee, which decides what good causes will receive the club’s largesse.
Because 2013 was also Tuesday Lit’s 75th anniversary, members wanted to do something permanent to mark the occasion. So they’ll be purchasing a brick for the path between Manna Soup Kitchen and its new addition, a teaching kitchen. (Tonnessen is the new executive director of Manna, but the club has donated to the soup kitchen for years.)
The rest of the money will go to the Sexual Assault Services Organization, which works both on prevention and education about sexual assault as well as helping survivors rebuild their confidence and their lives.
When they’re not reading literature, philosophy and history, these ladies are apparently reading cookbooks, as there’s always a cornucopia of delights at their potlucks. Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, smoked salmon canapés and a spicy shrimp dip were just some of the goodies on the appetizer table, while England’s elegantly decorated ginger cookies and bizcochitos were two of many sweet touches.
Thanks for the warm hospitality, and I hope to join you for some actual meetings this year. The theme for the 2013-’14 program year is Humor: From Aristophanes to Ephron, and I’m always up for a good laugh.
Sleigh bells are ringing for the birthdays of Mark Rahner, Susan VanDenBerg, Eric Speck, Reg Graham, Patrick Armijo, Chase Olivarius-McAllister, David Lobato, Miranda Polsfut, Wendy Krull, Bob Kunkel, Jenny Hill, Claire Choate, Jenny Houle, Kevin McCarthy, Brody Smith, Charlie Blalock, Diane Skinner, Alan Strickland, Kegan McCardell, Sean McCardell, Nan Newlin, Nancy Leach, Dan Goldman, Chris Berger, Bruce Carman, Karolann Latimer, Ralph Donnen, Clark Kinser and Ginna Harbison.
The snow reminds me that it’s time to catch up with the Durango Winter Sports Foundation, which is in high season right now.
The organization held its annual Gala and Hall of Fame Inductions in mid-November on an appropriately snowy evening. After appetizers and desserts at the Fort Lewis College Ballroom, it was time for the main event.
The two inductees this year were Ronny Yeager and Linda Meyers Tikalsky.
The entire Yeager clan turned out, and since the inductee is a fourth-generation Durangoan, that’s a lot of people. The Yeagers were among the first skiers in the area. Ronny’s father, Barney, a World War II veteran, built his first rope tow on Coal Bank after his discharge, and Ronny Yeager had his own rope tow until 1968. How many people can say that?
Yeager’s early competitive training was with Durango High School teachers and coaches Jerry and Sarah Davis and Jim Matson. (The Davises were inducted into the Winter Sports Foundation’s Hall of Fame a few years ago.)
Yeager’s competitive skiing career was full of accomplishments. He was the Junior National Champion for cross county and Nordic combined; was on the U.S. teams to the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, and the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck Austria; was a member of the University of Colorado’s 1972 NCAA National Championship team; and was the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Grand National Champion in 1973 and 50K National Champion in 1975.
There’s no counting the extraordinary number of hours of training behind every one of those titles and accomplishments.
Tikalsky may not have grown up here, but she’s a longtime resident with her own impressive set of accomplishments. Also a member of two Olympic teams, she competed in the 1960 games in Squaw Valley, Calif., and the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck; won six national championships in downhill, slalom and combined from 1957 to 1962; won 12 World Cup events between 1956 and 1965 in downhill and combined; and was a member of two U.S. World Championship teams in 1958 and 1962.
And when she wasn’t competing, she was coaching, both at the local and national levels, or working on behalf of skiing. All of those accomplishments led to her induction into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1982. (Hey, it takes us a while, but we get there.)
When I first heard about the DWSF’s Hall of Fame, I thought we might run out of worthy inductees rather quickly, but it turn out the level and extent of accomplishments by our local skiing community go far deeper than I realized.
Yeager and Tikalsky join earlier inductees including Ray Duncan, the founder of Purgatory Ski Area, early influential ski coach Dolph Kuss and three-time Olympian Mike Elliott.
Congratulations to both of you.
Hoping to walk in a winter wonderland for their anniversaries are Terry and Dinah Swan, Martin and Charlotte Pirnat, Dorman and Dottie McShan, Robert and Marie Maple, Raymond and Sue Walker, Bob and Lillian Krause, Don and Nita Anderson, Bob and Jo Etta Galbraith, Terry and Patrice Lindeman and Ray and Sue Walker.
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